Bio Serae goes organic with cactus offering

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bio serae Europe Opuntia European union

French supplier Bio Serae is offering an organic version of one its marquee cactus ingredients, Cacti-Nea, which it says is increasingly sought after by its food supplement and functional foods clients.

Cacti-Nea joins NeOpuntia - its other weight management ingredient derived from the North African-sourced Opuntia ficus-indica ​cactus plant (prickly pear) – in being offered organically.

The organic versions are “marginally more expensive”​ than their non-organic counterparts, BioSerare spokesperson, Karen Jaunatre, told NutraIngredients. They leant themselves to organic status because the conditions they are grown in North Africa ticked all the boxes for organic production.

It took about seven months to achieve the certification from the French body, EcoCert, which is applicable throughout the European Union and has status in other regions.

Cacti-Nea is derived from the fruit of the cactus and NeOpuntia from the leaves. Both are marketed on weight management grounds – but neither have as yet been approved as such within the European Union’s 2006 nutrition and health claims regulation.

A NeOpuntia weight management submission was one of the first claims to receive a negative opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) back in August, 2008, a negative opinion Bio Serae appealed unsuccessfully. The opinion has subsequently been written into the EU rule books where the opinion lies on the ever-growing register of rejected health claims.

It has not as yet submitted a dossier to the process for Cacti-Nea. Jaunatre said the company was still considering its options in this area but noted a recent clinical trial that demonstrated Cacti-Nea’s weight management and diuretic properties.

In a statement Bio Serae said: “Thanks to exclusive partnerships with local growers of the Mediterranean area, Bio Serae ensures the origin and the traceability of these fruits. A gentle, environmentally-friendly process, free from any chemical and respectful of the plant, allows us to obtain a high quality standardised ingredient which strictly complies with the current European legislation regarding organic farming.”

Bio Sarea earns about 60 per cent of its revenue outside of France – mostly in other European countries but also in Asia and North America.

Other Bio Serae offerings include antioxidant-boosted grape extracts VinOserae and VinOseed.


The company was purchased by compatriot the Iranex Group for undisclosed amount in April 2008, as Iranex made a concerted move into the health and wellness sector.

That acquisition meant that Colloides Naturels International (CNI), the Iranex arm that specialises in prebiotic acacia gum and wheat-derived soluble and insoluble fibres, has worked closely with Bio Serae.

At the time, former Bio Serae chairman, Michel Degre, said it was time to, “hand on the torch.”

"Iranex was the best candidate, both in terms of potential synergies and of shared values,"​ he said. "The takeover allows Bio Serae to be part of an important industrial group, which means greater stability, and increased resources (human, industrial as well as financial) - giving a boost to R&D and marketing plans.”

CNI's ingredient brands include Fibregum, Eficacia, and Equacia.

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